Category Archives: Human Trafficking

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (image courtesy of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking (image courtesy of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops)

February 8 marked the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita and the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking. The Daughters of Charity, along with many other communities of women religious, have taken a corporate stance against human trafficking. The text below comes from the Stop Trafficking Newsletter and the Vatican News Service

The day is intended to raise awareness and to encourage reflection on “the violence and injustice that affect” the numerous victims of trafficking, according to a Nov. 25 press release from the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

Trafficking victims “have no voice, do not count, and are no one. They are simply slaves,” the council said.

The observance also is designed to seek solutions and promote concrete action to stop trafficking.

The organizers underlined the need to ensure the rights, freedom and dignity of all trafficked people and to denounce the criminal organizations involved in human trafficking, as well as those who “use and abuse” the victims as “goods for pleasure and gain.”

On his flight back to Rome from Strasbourg, France, Nov. 25, Pope Francis told reporters “slavery is a reality inserted in the social fabric today, and has been for some time: slave labor, the trafficking of persons, the sale of children — it’s a drama. Let’s not close our eyes to this. Slavery is a reality today, the exploitation of persons,” he explained.

The new observance is being promoted for all dioceses, parishes and church groups by the council for migrants, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the international unions of superiors general of men’s and women’s religious orders.

Several other Catholic organizations are supporting the initiative, including the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, Caritas Internationalis, World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and Jesuit Refugee Service.

St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869 and enslaved as a child. Eventually she was sold to an Italian diplomat and taken to Italy, where she was later brought to freedome through the help of the Canossian Daughters of Charity. Through their guidance, she learned about God and served him faithfully until her death in 1947.

In October 2000 Pope John Paul II canonized Bakhita, noting, “In St. Josephine Bakhita we find a shining advocate of genuine emancipation. The history of her life inspires not passive acceptance but the firm resolve to work effecrtively to free girls and women from oppression and violence, and to return them to their dignity in the full exercise of their rights”.

Additional resources:
“Turn On a Light Against Human Trafficking” – from

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Anti-Trafficking Program

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Human Trafficking and the Super Bowl

Human trafficking involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through use of force, fraud, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them. People may be considered trafficking victims regardless of whether they were born into a state of servitude, were transported to the exploitative situation, previously consented to work for a trafficker, or participated in a crime as a direct result of being trafficked. Trafficking in persons affects virtually every country of the world today, including the United States. The majority of victims are women and children who are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation. It is one of the fastest growing criminal activities after drugs and arms. It is estimated that between 700,000 to two million persons are trafficked each year worldwide. Trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry, the second largest crime in terms of dollars exchanged.

The United States is one of the countries of destination of women and children trafficked for sexual purposes from all over the world. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that 50,000 to 100,000 women are trafficked to the United States each year. In the past decade as many as 750,000 women have been trafficked into the United States. According to UNICEF estimates, there are between 90,000 and 300,000 prostituted minors in the country.

Major sporting events, such as this weekend’s Super Bowl, are magnets for activities connected with human trafficking. These events draw large crowds, are primarily male-attended, and have a partying atmosphere connected with them. The party atmosphere surrounding the game may be an enticement for some to break the law, and that attitude is what traffickers hope to capitalize on.

The Daughters of Charity are collaborating with other groups of Catholic religious women and with other sectors of society to stop what Pope Francis has called “the most extensive form of slavery of the 21st century.” Learn more about trafficking and efforts to combat it with the resources below. They were used in the writing of this post.

Nuns, Trafficking, and the Super Bowl (about the 2012 Super Bowl)

20 Ways You Can Fight Trafficking

Sisters Around the World Fight Trafficking

Stop Enslavement Newsletter

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